Articles By: Guest Author

This page is a post from outside of Credit Writedowns’ regular contributors.

Here are my most recent posts

Brexit was a cry of financial pain and not the influence of the old

Brexit was a cry of financial pain and not the influence of the old

There has been much debate on the determinants of the vote for Brexit. This column uses newly released data from the Understanding Society study to examine the characteristics of individuals who were for and against Brexit. Unhappiness contributed to the vote to leave the EU, but this was driven by feelings about individual financial situations rather than a general dissatisfaction with life. Brexit does not appear to have been caused by the old – only those under the age of 25 were substantially pro-Remain.

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The unwinding of the carry trade of the British pound sterling

The unwinding of the carry trade of the British pound sterling

Between the first quarter of 2013 and the end of 2015, London property prices rose rapidly, the exchange rate appreciated, and the current account deficit widened. This column argues that the rise of the pound was in fact a financial bubble, riding on a property price-exchange rate carry trade.This unsustainable bubble was deflated by Brexit.

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The new normal that never was

The new normal that never was

The extended period of low growth following the Global Crisis was denoted the ‘New Normal’ by some. This column argues that the period is still ongoing, and would be more usefully described as the ‘New Abnormal’. Far from being an equilibrium, the low growth was achieved by progressively more aggressive and unprecedented monetary policy actions, in response to a series of financial panics. Furthermore, the aftershocks of the Crisis are still colliding with a series of profound structural changes to and instabilities in the global economy.

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Low interest rates and banks’ net interest margins

Low interest rates and banks’ net interest margins

Since the Global Crisis, interest rates in many advanced economies have been low and, in many cases, are expected to remain low for some time. Low interest rates help economies recover and can enhance banks’ balance sheets and performance, but persistently low rates may also erode the profitability of banks if they are associated with lower net interest margins. This column uses new cross-country evidence to confirm that decreases in interest rates do indeed contribute to weaker net interest margins, with a greater adverse effect when rates are already low.

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The Eurozone has been infected by the US slowdown

The Eurozone has been infected by the US slowdown

Recent data releases related to the Eurozone have been disappointing. This column argues that momentum from the long-delayed 2014-15 recovery is faltering because the Eurozone economy is affected, with a lag, by the US slowdown. The traditional, lagged relationship between the EZ and US business cycles – which disappeared in the aftermath of the Global Crisis – is now reasserting itself.

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Variable geometry bites back: Schäuble’s motives

Variable geometry bites back: Schäuble’s motives

Success of the German-inspired solution for the latest Greek crisis is far from assured. If it fails, the Eurozone may be changed forever. This column argues that the failure would lead to an outcome that has been favoured for decades by Germany’s Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble. Perhaps the package the Eurozone agreed is just a backdoor way of getting to the ‘variable geometry’ and monetary unification for the core that the Maastricht criteria had failed to achieve.

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The new European Union

The new European Union

The new bailout deal for Greece was not easy. This column argues that it was also a failure. It will not be enough to recapitalise banks, it asks for structural reform that exceeds Greek capacities, and it raises the Greek debt-to-GDP ratio to unsustainable levels. In a few months or quarters, the programme will fail and the Grexit question will flare up again.

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Grexit: The staggering cost of central bank dependence

Grexit: The staggering cost of central bank dependence

This weekend’s dramatic events saw the ECB capping emergency assistance to Greece. This column argues that the ECB’s decision is the last of a long string of ECB mistakes in this crisis. Beyond triggering Greece’s Eurozone exit – thus revoking the euro’s irrevocability – it has shattered Eurozone governance and brought the politicisation of the ECB to new heights. Bound to follow are chaos in Greece and agitation of financial markets – both with unknown consequences.

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Trends and prospects for private-sector deleveraging in advanced economies

Trends and prospects for private-sector deleveraging in advanced economies

Major advanced economies have made mixed progress in repairing the private sector’s balance sheets. This column explores private sector deleveraging trends and calls for a set of policies that will return debt to safer levels. Monetary policies should support private sector deleveraging and policymakers should not ignore the positive impact of debt restructuring and write-offs on non-performing loans.

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A parallel currency for Greece: Part II

A parallel currency for Greece: Part II

Introducing a currency in parallel to the euro could help Greece repay its external debt and resume economic activity. This second column in a two-part series evaluates the different options and their effects on aggregate demand and fiscal sustainability. The authors propose a tax credit certificates programme, which they argue could generate new spending capacity and avoid the adoption of new austerity measures.

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A parallel currency for Greece: Part I

To prevent it from defaulting on its debt, the Greek government might need to introduce a new domestic currency, in parallel to the euro. This column, the first in a two-part series, compares the current proposals for a parallel currency and discusses how such a policy instrument could promote economic recovery.

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The coming defaults of Greece

The coming defaults of Greece

It seems that there will be no agreement between Greece and its Eurozone partners. Short of cash, the Greek government will have no choice but to suspend payment of its maturing debts. This column looks at what happens next. In brief, it will be very much up to the ECB to decide.

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